After a spring of bad luck and poor timing, Lynn Symansky and Under Suspection (Contender x Naomagic I) took home the win today in the CCI4*-S at the MARS Great Meadow International in The Plains, Virginia on a score of 27.0. A girth irritation necessitated Mary Ann Ghadban’s 15-year-old Holsteiner mare’s late withdrawal from the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in April, but this weekend the pair was back on top.
“It was uncomfortable under her belly – it was some sort of infection – so we couldn’t put a girth on her for a while,” Symansky explained. “At the end of the day I always have to put the horse first and it was not right pushing her – something didn’t feel right about it – and I’m glad I trusted my gut because we let that have some time and she came back out here feeling amazing.”
“She was absolutely incredible,” Symansky continued. “It has been a while since I’ve actually properly run her at speed at this level for a bit because thing after thing has happened this spring. She felt totally on her game – she’s such an amazing cross-country horse and she really earned her keep today.”
Earlier in the weekend Symansky had said she wasn’t planning to run for time because she was a bit “light on gallops,” but “Pippy” came out guns blazing today. “She actually cooled down great,” Symansky observed. “A horse that has that much base underneath them – she came out here and I really pushed her. I even went long at the corners and she was pretty quick around there, even though I probably made her work harder than I had to.”
“There were a few hairy moments I hadn’t planned on but I think with a horse like that who is such an incredible machine on cross-country you get rusty pretty quick if you haven’t run for speed in a while. I’m used to coming out and I’ve had a couple runs on the horse and then you’re ready to kind of put your foot down, but it’s not a style award at the end of the day and she was absolutely incredible and fought for me the whole way through – I couldn’t be happier.”
A fall three-day is certainly in Pippy’s future, according to Symansky, but they haven’t decided which one she’ll go to. “Her owner and I have to talk tomorrow and make final plans for everything,” she said. “The horse knows her job at this point and she’s not old, but she is older, so you have to rely on that."
Colleen Rutledge and her 13-year-old Thoroughbred cross gelding Covert Rights (BFF Incognito x Let’s Get It Right) came home clear today with 3.2 time penalties to move up into second place and finish on a score of 31.5
“I was really pleased with him,” Rutledge said. “He’s feeling better and stronger than ever and he went out and was reading the questions really well. It took a little bit of telling him where to go but for the most part he was really reading the questions and really focused on what his job was. He was really good. It makes me feel really good because with all the ups and downs we’ve ever had he definitely had his mind on the game today.”
Lauren Kieffer and D.A. Duras, Debbie Adams and Jacqueline Mars’s 11-year-old KWPN gelding (Numero Uno x Medoc), picked up 6.4 time penalties across the country today to finish the weekend in third place on a score of 36.4.
“He was super,” Kieffer said. “He’s only 11 but he’s gotten more focused with age and he’s got a huge gallop. I didn’t really take any risks but I let him run between the fences and he’s pretty naturally quick. I was really pleased with how much he locked on to the technical stuff like the corners. He’s a very genuine horse and very quick-footed but his mind hasn’t always been as quick as his feet but today all the work we’ve been doing seemed to prove itself. He seems really mature and on point.”
Kimmy Cecere and Landmark’s Monaco (Formula One x Glamour), Jacqueline Mars’ 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse/Thoroughbred gelding, win the big mover award for the weekend, climbing the ranks from 31st place after dressage on a 40.9 to 24th with a double clear show jumping round, finally finishing the weekend in fourth place, adding 1.2 time penalties to her score and also clocking the fastest round of the day in the CCI4*-S.
Meghan O’Donoghue and Chase Shipka’s 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Palm Crescent (Quiet American x Edey’s Village) also had a nearly fault-free weekend, scoring a 36.4 in dressage, good enough for 22nd place going into show jumping. A double clear round pushed them up the leaderboard into 14th, and then a clear round today with 7.6 time penalties saw them finish the weekend in fifth place.
Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Pick Pocket Take Home the CCI3*-S Win
Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Pick Pocket (Chacco Blue x Bracklin Mystique), Lee Lee Jones’s 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, maintained their lead in the CCI3*-S to take home the blue ribbon on a score of 30.2 after picking up a single time fault on David O’Connor’s cross-country track today.
Caitlin Silliman and Morgan McCue’s 8-year-old Trakehner mare Ally KGO (Hirtentanz 2 x Annabel Lee) also picked up one time fault on cross-country today, holding onto their second-place position on a score of 30.6.
Buck Davidson and The Electric Group’s Electric Lux (Lux Z x Kilnamac Sue), a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, followed the leaders all weekend, moving from eighth place to fourth place with a clear show jumping round and then putting in one of only two double-clear rounds on cross-country to move up to third.
A double clear cross-country round propelled Rebecca Braitling and Arnell Sporthorses' 11-year-old British Sport Horse gelding Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan) to their first blue ribbon together in the CCI4*-Short, and Haley Turner and her own 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Shadow Inspector (Tinaranas Inspector x Caragh Roller) continued their run of sub-30 dressage tests to win the CCI3*-Short at the 2022 Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, California.
USEA podcast host Nicole Brown chats with Interim Eventing Chef d’Equipe and Team Manager of the U.S. Eventing Team Bobby Costello about the Silver Medal Performance put forward by the U.S. Team at the 2022 FEI Eventing World Championships.
There is still time to experience the long format of three-day eventing this year, by competing in a fall USEA Classic Series Event! The USEA Classic Series offers long-format eventing at the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, Modified, and Preliminary levels, and there are still a few left on the fall calendar in various Areas.
This story first appeared in the August 2022 issue of Sidelines Magazine.
I have had many young horses in my time, and one thing I’ve learned is that it’s rarely the perfect, easy baby that becomes the next superstar. In fact, I’ve always considered it a positive to have the well-behaved youngster throw a little bit of attitude my way, as I believe that it takes fight to become a great event horse.